Code of conduct

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A code of conduct is a set of rules outlining the social norms and rules and responsibilities of, or proper practices for, an individual, party or organization. Related concepts include ethical, honor, moral codes and religious laws.

In its 2007 International Good Practice Guidance, "Defining and Developing an Effective Code of Conduct for Organizations", the International Federation of Accountants[1] provided the following working definition:

"Principles, values, standards, or rules of behaviour that guide the decisions, procedures and systems of an organization in a way that (a) contributes to the welfare of its key stakeholders, and (b) respects the rights of all constituents affected by its operations."

A common code of conduct is written for employees of a company, which protects the business and informs the employees of the company's expectations. It is ideal for even the smallest of companies to form a document containing important information on expectations for employees. The document does not need to be complex or have elaborate policies, but the file needs a simple basis of what the company expects from each employee.

Codes of conduct in practice

A Code of Conduct can be an important step in establishing an inclusive culture, but it is not a comprehensive solution on its own. An ethical culture is created by the organization's leaders who manifest their ethics in their attitudes and behavior.[2] Studies of codes of conduct in the private sector show that their effective implementation must be part of a learning process that requires training, consistent enforcement, and continuous measurement/improvement.[3] Simply requiring members to read the code is not enough to ensure that they understand it and will remember its contents.[4]

The proof of effectiveness is when employees/members feel comfortable enough to voice concerns and believe that the organization will respond with appropriate action.[5]


These gravestones are from Yekaterinburg, which in the 1990s was the mob (and relevantly contract killing) capital of Russia. These three boys died on the same job and the code of conduct dictated that they be given an equally honorable burial.


  1. ^ "IFAC". 
  2. ^ McMillan, Michael. "Codes of Ethics: If You Adopt One, Will They Behave?". Enterprising Investor: Practical analysis for investment professionals. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  3. ^ Doig, Alan; Wilson, John. "Business Ethics: A European Review Volume 7, Issue 3, July 1998". Wiley Online Library. Blackwell Publishers Ltd 1998. pp. 140–149. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  4. ^ ACC. "Top Ten Tips for Developing an Effective Code of Conduct". Association of Corporate Counsel. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  5. ^ Barman, Tanya; White, Samantha. "Implementing an effective corporate ethics policy". Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) Magazine. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Code of Merit". 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Madrid Declaration on Ethical Standards for Psychiatric Practice - World Psychiatric Association". 
  10. ^ Bquadrats - Josi Swerts. "EFPA Ethics - Board of Ethics". 
  11. ^ "Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct". 
  12. ^ "Django Code of Conduct". 
  13. ^ "SRA - SRA Handbook - Code of Conduct - SRA Code of Conduct 2011 - Solicitors Regulation Authority". 
  14. ^ "SRA - SRA Handbook - Code of Conduct - SRA Code of Conduct 2011 - Solicitors Regulation Authority". 
  15. ^ Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
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